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Backup vendor Asigra on Monday made available a free software tool designed to ease and automate the process of creating and managing snapshots in Amazon Web Services.
The Asigra AWS Snapshot Manager targets users of Amazon's Elastic Block Store (EBS), which provides persistent block-based storage volumes for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. EBS snapshots protect data stored in virtual machines in EC2.
"There's a lot of griping and whining and complaining that people are spending too much time doing this," Farajun said. "And they're not really experts at it. When they leave their companies or roles, the scripts have to be rewritten by the new person unless they understand them. There's no scheduling. They have to patch it all the time."
He said reporting and notification alerts are not available, and AWS users need to remember to delete their snapshots. If they forget, the monthly bill could soar beyond their expectations, he said.
Asigra's new Web-based management console enables users to create schedules, set retention policies, manage notifications and reports, and establish role-based permission access. It also enables them to automatically restore, copy, delete and migrate between geographic regions.
The tool supports applications running on Linux and Windows. Windows users running applications with Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service can get application-consistent snapshots, according to Farajun.
"Snapshots are one of the better ways to do data protection. But they need to be managed, and that's what this tool does," W. Curtis Peterson, a senior analyst at Storage Switzerland LLC, wrote in an email.
Asigra seeks new audience
Farajun said the Asigra AWS Snapshot Manager software is available free of charge on the AWS Marketplace for anybody who wants to use it, whether or not they are Asigra customers. Support is available via email.
Through the new tool, Asigra hopes to gain exposure to AWS users who may not be familiar with the company and its backup software, according to Farajun.
"It's an opportunity for them to reach out to cloud computing end users and hopefully bridge the gap between on-premises environments and cloud services," Henry Baltazar, research director for the storage channel at 451 Research LLC, wrote in an email. "[The] freemium offering should help customers [who] aren't scripting experts or are struggling with environments that are growing quickly in terms of size and complexity."
The three-pane user interface for the Asigra AWS Snapshot Manager is similar to the one that customers have with Asigra's backup software products. But the AWS tool is strictly for EBS environments and cannot be used to manage on-premises Asigra installations.
"We want to let the market tell us what we should do. If the existing Asigra customer base says, 'Hey, it would be great if you guys pull this into our regular platform,' we'll do that," Farajun said.
Asigra sells its backup software through managed service providers (MSPs). The MSPs have the option to manage the snapshots of AWS customers or give their customers the ability to configure and manage snapshots with the Asigra AWS Snapshot Manager server.
AWS users interested in snapshot manager
Brent Reichow, co-founder and CEO at Tokyo-based Blueshift Data Protection, a provider of private and public cloud backup services in the Asia-Pacific region, said customers who use AWS have already expressed interest in the new Asigra tool. Blueshift uses Asigra's backup software with its high-end customers. The company stores most of the 500 terabytes to one petabyte of its customer data at colocated facilities, Reichow said.
Blueshift was a beta tester of Asigra's new AWS snapshot management tool. Reichow said scripts can break and become hard to manage, so the free Asigra tool will help his company.
"As a smaller business, we have to understand how we're going to work with large clouds like AWS," Reichow said. "As AWS grows larger, we want to be able to offer different types of services. We're used to working in colocated environments. We're not used to working in third-party clouds, but this is an opportunity for us to do that."
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